February 6, 2015 –Do you ever hear about something on the news, shake your
head, and think, “They should really do something about that”?
Today, I’m going to talk about how to change that “they” to “I.”
Bringing community issues to the attention of New York’s
elected officials is one strategy, and an important way of making sure the
right topics are being debated in Albany. The Open Space Institute is promoting
two such opportunities next month. On March 3, OSI’s Alliance for New York
State Parks is teaming up with Parks & Trails New York to sponsor Parks
Advocacy Day in the state legislature. After years of advocating for parks, it is exciting that our work is
having a real impact.
With his newest budget proposal, Governor Cuomo continued
his unparalleled commitment to revitalizing New York’s magnificent state
parks. Thanks to him and a
commitment from the legislature, great things are happening at state parks
throughout New York, including those right here in the Hudson Valley. From
repairs to leaking roofs and swimming pools to improved trails and visitor
centers, our state parks are undergoing a transformation unlike anything this
state has ever seen. Our message
in Albany: keep up the good work – because our parks matter!
And because we all know the value of supportive
constituencies, we’ll also be urging approval of a new initiative to support successful
local park friends groups, such as those that exist at Olana State Historic
Site and Walkway Over the Hudson. As the saying goes, you can never have too many friends!
Which brings us to a second opportunity to raise our voices
in Albany. On March 9, OSI, will once
again, be joining with friends and colleagues in New York’s environmental
community to support Governor Cuomo’s proposed increase in the
Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The
governor’s budget increases the EPF by $10 million to $172 million; $4 million of
that increase is earmarked for Open Space Protection, with $25 million in total
set aside for land protection. He also creates a new $50 million farmland
protection initiative.The Cuomo spending plan underscores the importance of
protecting natural resources and stresses the important role land conservation
plays in promoting clean water and air, outdoor recreation, working farms,
habitat protection and responding to climate change.
Significant increases in EPF funding are long overdue. We gratefully
acknowledge the legislature’s leadership in supporting the EPF, but there is
still a long way to go to reach prior funding levels and eventually return the EPF
to its rightful place of $300 million, annually. So, if you share our
commitment for parks and preserving our state’s precious natural resources,
consider joining us on March 3 for Parks Advocacy Day or March 9 for EPF lobby
Visit our website at osiny.org
to learn more.
Let’s join our voices together so we can be heard: Parks
and the Environment Matter!